Banging brands: Hashtag United
Sports brands are recognisable across the globe. But not every team has the history and fan support of Manchester United, Real Madrid or LA Lakers. Some have to work a little harder for oxygen in such a competitive field. In Banging Brands, we take a look at some of the more innovative approaches sports clubs around the world are taking to make themselves heard. This week we’re taking a look at Hashtag United, a football team who have used esports and social media to take their brand to new heights.
Hashtag United isn’t like most football clubs.
They’re an amateur team, battling their way up the convoluted football pyramid with ambitions of growing into something bigger. But so are many teams throughout the country.
What makes Hashtag different is the size of their following.
No, not in terms of match attendance. Social media. Youtube.
178k followers on Twitter. 377k on Instagram. 433k on YouTube.
These aren’t normal numbers. Preston North End – eight divisions above Hashtag in the pyramid, and only one promotion away from the Premier League – have just 93k followers on Twitter.
How did they achieve this massive growth? We took a look.
An understanding of the potential of YouTube was the kindling to the fire, with the team rising to prominence through videos of the team’s games being streamed through Spencer Owen’s channel.
That’s right, it does help when your founder is already an established YouTube personality.
But those principles are what the whole team is built on, with a specific Hashtag United channel being created, and a massive following cultivated.
Those videos continue to define the team, giving followers a behind the scenes look at how the team is building, and introducing the personalities involved.
Which goes hand in hand with…
Hashtag are so clever with their use of YouTube and social media – it’s what defines them.
Each new addition to the team is given massive exposure through their widely followed social media channels, and their personalities continue to add to the team’s appeal.
It’s like a social media soap opera, with clever content curation and a decent dose of football talent to boot.
Next on the list for Hashtag is a move into esports, and of course this new venture has the full suite of social media support, including a popular Twitch account.
Who needs crowds at matches when your social media channels reach hundreds of thousands of people a day?
The Hashtag branding works on so many levels.
It instantly announces the team’s digital focus. It differentiates the club from pretty much every other football club out there.
And it has brought about this instantly recognisable goal celebration:
43’ – GOAL!!!
(HTU 3-0 WHI) pic.twitter.com/Sfv44TxJGu
— Hashtag United (@hashtagutd) January 26, 2019
The team’s branding is on point, from logo to website to kit – which is included in a wide range of merchandise on their website.
_WHAT CAN WE LEARN?
Hashtag United are a tribute to what can be achieved by paying attention to trends and nailing your execution in following them.
The lessons can be applied in any industry.
Form a strong identity and ensure your branding sticks to it memorably and consistently.
Highlight a market that is open to your product and commit to it wholeheartedly.
And nail social media.
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